Wednesday 22 January 2020

JJ Hanrahan confirmed fit for Munster as Johann van Graan looks to positives ahead of Ospreys tie

JJ Hanrahan, who had some fine moments in Paris, is tackled by Racing’s Antonie Claassen. Photo: Sportsfile
JJ Hanrahan, who had some fine moments in Paris, is tackled by Racing’s Antonie Claassen. Photo: Sportsfile
David Kelly

David Kelly

JJ Hanrahan will be fit for Munster's attempt to complete the great escape against the Ospreys this weekend as they hope for the spectacular series of results which may yet nab them an unlikely last eight spot.

However, Jean Kleyn is due a scan on an injured neck later today but, after being unable to carry a second-row on their bench during Sunday’s damaging defeat in Paris, Johann van Graan will be hoping Fineen Wycherley can pass his HIA this week.

Hooker Rhys Marshall and prop James Cronin may also return to boost the squad to face the beleaguered Welsh side in Thomond Park next Sunday lunchtime, when they need five match points and hope other results go favourably.

"JJ was fine," said Van Graan. "His hamstring was fine. He was pretty banged up, they ran quite hard in his channel and he took a bit of contact but he's fine. Obviously we’ll look after him during the week but no problems with him.

"Jean Kleyn we're going to send for a scan on his neck. He took a bang there. He makes a lot of contact and we’ll know more later in the week on him.

"Fineen Wycherley is still going through HIA following the knock against Ulster so we hope he comes through as we are thin on ball-carriers and on second rows. That would be very important for us."

Munster are unlikely to qualify after another weekend of missed opportunities and self-imposed errors.

"It was our best start of the whole season. We were 9-0 up after 18 minutes, put them under huge pressure and we were unfortunate not to score a try. A lack of discipline brought them back in," he said.

"We were 16-11 up at half-time and feeling confident. But after the break penalised in front of the posts and then it went backwards and forwards a little bit.

"It's a bit of everything. We were 22-20 up with nine minutes to go. They got a penalty advantage and Teddy Thomas got a spectacular finish in the corner.

"If the ball bounces anywhere else…but that's the way sport goes. At 25-22, we had one or two opportunities from multiple phases.

"Then they got a poach and then back into our half with another incredible finish from their side.

"Chris was over the line and couldn’t get it down. Jean Kleyn was literally a few centimetres short so instead of seven we get three. It became a tactical game and they took it away from us at the death.

"There were a lot of positives, some good individual performances. Our scrum and lineout defence was very good, we stopped their maul.

"Our phase attack. Virimi Vakatawa had one of those days, Teddy Thomas, the scrum-half's reverse pass for the first try, they had some incredible moments.

"We know we need to be better at closing out the game. It was a phenomenal game of rugby and we were in the game and we’re disappointed not to get a point out of the game.

"We're still alive in this competition, it's out of our hands and we have incredible support. It's always brilliant to play here in Thomond Park. The amount of people who went to Racing, the people who were at the airport were all brilliant.

"We were unbeaten for two years here before the Leinster game and even that game came down on a lineout in the last minute of the game. So we’re looking forward to our final game at home in Europe."

Online Editors

The Left Wing: The Saracens scandal, Leinster's nightmare draw and Andy Farrell's tough calls

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport